In a California district court ruling, it was decided that lawsuits aimed at holding energy companies responsible for weather affected by climate change should take place in federal court.
Plaintiffs of the case argue that the lawsuits should be judged under California common law, but Judge William Alsup stated that the issue was outside the state’s scope. He sent the lawsuits from Oakland and San Francisco into federal court, which was a disastrous blow for the plaintiffs.
Lindsey de la Torre, executive director of the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturers’ Accountability Project (MAP), issued this statement in response to Judge Alsup’s decision to grant federal jurisdiction to the climate lawsuits:
“This decision from the Northern District of California is a significant setback for these politically-motivated and legally questionable lawsuits and should be a signal to the plaintiffs’ bar that this approach is a legal dead-end. Precedent shows that similar cases heard in federal court have been unsuccessful for plaintiffs looking to pin the global challenge of climate change on manufacturers. Plaintiff attorney Matt Pawa, who masterminded the lawsuit in San Francisco, has tried several such cases himself and has been ultimately turned away each time.”
In addition to calling the climate change lawsuits “a legal dead-end”, de la Torre also suggests that officials who are sincerely concerned about climate change effects should take other forms of action besides “frivolous litigation”.
“The issue of climate change is a shared responsibility that can in no way be pinpointed to one product or a handful of companies. If the elected officials targeting manufacturers are genuinely concerned about the effects of climate change, they should address those concerns administratively, legislatively, and personally, not through frivolous litigation that does nothing to advance solutions to this global problem.”